A heat lamp and cardboard box rigged to help keep a drain pipe from freezing led to a house fire that caused $100,000 in damage Tuesday, a Wichita fire investigator said.
Wichita fire Lt. Joe Evans said the homemade heating contraption was positioned on the outside of the house in the 1500 block of North Ridgewood when it ignited shortly before 4:30 p.m. The homeowner, he said, was in a detached shop on the property at the time, and when he returned to the house, he saw smoke and flames.
Evans said the homeowner used the lamp and box last year to heat the pipe and had changed its lightbulb about two hours before the fire. The homeowner told authorities that when the pipe froze, it caused the home’s furnace to malfunction, Evans said, and he was trying to circumvent the problem in preparation for frigid temperatures expected overnight.
The fire, which was ruled an accident, caused $75,000 in structural damage to the house and $25,000 to its contents, Evans said. No one was hurt, he said. The house is located between Oliver and Woodlawn, north of 13th Street.